Venezuela spreads the oil around
‘Venezuela is now free and places its oil riches at the service of Latin America, and not under the control of the multinationals.’ So says Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, leader of the world’s fifth-largest oil exporting country. As part of a policy of Latin American co-operation, the country is supplying cut-price oil and offering special deals to its neighbours, including Caribbean nations. In a breathless 30 days of hectic diplomacy in August and September, the country clinched oil deals with Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Cuba receives oil from Venezuela in exchange for 14,000 doctors, 3,000 dentists and several hundred sports coaches. Chavez explains his motivation as ‘helping neighbouring countries cut energy costs and improving living standards in the region.’
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